WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As the Kitsilano Coast Guard station prepares to shut down in Vancouver, a volunteer service just north of the city is seeing some upgrades.
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue will operate a new boat out of Horseshoe Bay, as they expect demand for service to rise.

The organization’s Randy Strandt says the new jet boat is faster, less vulnerable to logs, can carry a stretcher, and will fair better in stormy weather.

“It’s faster, it’s bigger, it’s an all-weather boat, it can roll over if it ever had the worst case scenario and was hit by a large wave,” he says.

Still, he adds they will have to wait and see if they can keep up with calls after the Vancouver base closes.

“We do respond to similar calls to them, I think we’ll be responding to more calls without them there, certainly I believe our crews are trained and qualified to respond to any call,” he explains. “Whether we can replace that volume, I don’t think we’ve looked at that question yet.”

Marine Search and Rescue is hoping to bolster private donations for service improvements under their new name, moving away from their previous Coast Guard Auxiliary designation.

Strandt says they are working with the government to determine how exactly their 1,000 plus volunteers will be utilized as the Coast Guard deals with cuts.